I’ve come to the realization it doesn’t matter how much money you make, but it is all about how you spend it. One cardinal rule should be to live within your means, but also have a buffer of funds set aside for emergencies, or for a vacation which comes up or whatever. What I have done repeatedly over the years is spend my paycheck and then when the money was gone, I would still book a trip, and use my credit card. Or an emergency surgery on a pet comes up or an unexpected bill, just swipe the credit card.
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a hilarious book by UK author Sophie Kinsella who created a whole Shopaholic series of fun easy reads. The original was made into a cute comedic movie, but unlike the movie, a lot of debt stories do not have a happy ending, and there is nothing endearing about credit card debt.
There is no reason why I couldn’t have paid for everything I listed above if only I had set aside 10% per pay and lived within my means. I wouldn’t have been scratching at the bottom of the barrel, I would have still been eating well, dressing well and living where I do, I just wouldn’t have purchased the many books I haven’t read yet, the overpriced dress “I had to have”, nor all the crappy souvenirs I purchased during trips which I ended up giving away. If I could do things all over again, I would have done them differently, and I wouldn’t have had to come up with a shopping ban list, but here I am with debt I created all on my selfish own, and it is now time to pay the piper.
Someone read my blog “Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget” and commented saying I came across as a “self indulged twat” and minus the “twat” part, she is absolutely correct. I have been self indulged all my life. Spoiled as a child, a teen and even up into my early 20s, my parents were always bailing me out and helping me out financially. Sometimes it was a genuine need, such as I need money to make rent or buy groceries, but often the reason behind that need was because I used my pay check to buy a new outfit, have a night of debauchery with my girlfriends or go on a road trip. I have been indeed self indulged, with always the mind set of I will do better starting next week, next month, and then when close to the end of a year – next year. Well, enough is enough, when you have debt, it is accruing interest, and debt waits for no one. The best thing you can do is start now, today!
No more Scarlett O’Hara:
The long awaited shopping ban list is here. For the remainder of June until the end of September 2016 I will be adhering to the rules I have outlined for myself. I have given myself three months, as I do feel this is achievable, I have attempted a year before and I have failed miserably. In addition, Brian and I have booked a trip to Italy in early October, so spending money is going to happen, but I do plan to not “shop” as I normally would.
Let’s start with what is allowed (keep in mind this is only for 3 months):
Groceries (within budgeted amount $50 per week)
Necessary Toiletries Only (must use what I have)
When out for patio drinks – maximum of two (after two – onto tap water)
Once a month (lunch or dinner never exceeding $50 and this includes drinks)
One coffee per work day (no lattes or fancy drinks)
Highlights for my hair (stretching out to two months)
One haircut before October
One book on Florence Italy (using a gift card to Chapters)
Gifts for others
What is absolutely not allowed:
Clothing & Accessories (have more than enough, too much in fact)
Body products (washes, moisturizer, powder, perfume – the fun stuff)
What will I do with my savings? I want a balance of zero on my Visa by the time October rolls around. I already have a debt repayment plan in place for a low interest rate loan, but I do have some money on my Visa which is never a good thing. I am also setting money aside for Italy, but I don’t plan to shop as I have been there, done that and literally bought the T-Shirt.
Also, I have to give credit where credit is due. Much of my inspiration behind this series of blogs on finances is because of Cait Flanders formerly known as Blonde on a Budget http://www.caitflanders.com. I hope I can make Cait proud. Below is a picture of fellow Canadian Cait Flanders. I highly recommend anyone looking for inspiration to reduce their debt to check this cutie out.
I would also like to note that my best friend and love Brian has been a huge inspiration to me, as a guy who tries to pay for everything with cash, and has been supportive of my resolution to go from red to black.
Gail Vaz-Oxlade has also given me a dose of reality through her TV shows “Princess” , “Til Debt Do Us Part” and “Money Moron”; this woman terrifies me, but she is AMAZING. She also has an amazing website http://www.gailvazoxlade.com with an interactive budget implementing her famous cash only money jars.
Next up is creating a budget and sticking to it! As for the ban I will keep you updated weekly.